Part III: A Date in the Future

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I said I was going to stay consistent. I said I was going to post on Saturdays. I said all of these things to myself. And it’s not that I lied. It’s that life happened. As it does. And then we as the responsible parent of ourselves is on the hook for making sure we do the thing we say we are going to do.

I am currently in my rebellious teenage phase of adulthood. Probably because I never got to have a rebellious teenage phase as a teenager when it was age appropriate. But I say all that to say that some of the things I am rebelling against are alarm clocks, saying yes to things I don’t want to do, and saying yes to things I know are good for me. Like writing. Like sitting down and doing the work that I know will help me mentally as much as a good long walk does. I’ve also been rebelling against mental health walks that I know will 100% help my anxiety. But apparently my rebellion doesn’t want to make any sense.

Next week, I’ll be writing a post about mental health and my anxiety. But for now, let’s chat about the final writing prompt of the Catapult class.

I think I failed the assignment. Because, again, my rebellion was like, “I don’t want to write about that.” Petulant child that she is. But I did write about it in a way. My writing piece became an ode to my former self. To my 13 year old self. Who feels as real to me now as when I was living in her body some 24 years ago. Or the 22 year old version of me who, during her first year of teaching, cried every day and wished for a life that felt entirely impossible.

Turns out the life that I wanted wasn’t impossible. But what it took to get here was hard. There were sacrifices and tough decisions that needed to be made. And then there was the nuclear fall out from those decisions that I never could have imagined. I wanted to tell her, that 22 year old me, that we did it. We’re on the other side.

So, the prompt was this: Choose a date in the future and write what happened up to that point.

This is what I wrote.

After the novel class ended, we wrote every day. It started with 10 minutes. Then 15. Half an hour. Until we hit the sweet spot. Until we wrote past the corner we’d painted ourselves into. And then we rewrote. And we edited. And we found our spark. Our sparkle. Because you spent so much time comparing yourself to others that you shut off your ability to tell stories.

You redefined success. And redefined what it meant to be a writer. And found the fun again. Because what you thought it could give you was never really what mattered. What mattered was that the 13 year old version of you who spent Friday nights writing stories on her typewriter got to live her dream. Because the 22 year old version of you who thought she’d never leave teaching, did. Once you dropped the pressure to perform, everything fell into place.

Remember that for if it happens again. Success is measured in units of happiness. And writing will always bring you joy.

Until next week friends. I hope you find happiness in the days to come.

Part II: Punctuation?!

Hey everyone!

It’s time for another “Catapult Class Writing Prompt”!

I’ve been spending this Saturday reading Love and Olives, which I’ve been enjoying very much after reading Love and Gelato. My anxiety has been high for the last week or so, and my current fixation is “books that take place in Greece”. I also read My Mamma Mia Summer. So, if you’re looking for something lighthearted and fun, I highly suggest these two titles. They’ve really helped me get out of my head for a little while.

What I really should be doing instead of reading is writing my flash fiction piece for NYC Midnight. But I still have another 24+ hours before that’s due right? *insert sly smile emoji*

So, this week’s writing prompt with Catapult had to do with punctuation. Now, before I give the prompt, I want to give fair warning – even though I was an English teacher for 13 years…I am not good with grammar conventions or punctuation.

It was always funny when I would tell people what I did for a living and their response would be, “I need to watch how I speak so you don’t judge my grammar!”

To which I’d smile politely and think, “If they only knew that I have no idea how to use a semicolon.”

I say all this to say: don’t come for my lack of punctuational understanding. Let’s just be friends, comma splices and all.

And, as always, feel free to use the prompt if it moves you and leave comments to tell me about your own writing journey!

This week’s class prompt was: Choose a single form of punctuation that’s not a period or comma. Then write a story where that’s THE ONLY punctuation you use for the entire story.

This is what I wrote.

Summer – she sits at the plastic table covered in a seashell print table cloth – relics of a sea she hasn’t seen in years – is it years – was it last year – when she went down the shore in November with an old friend she can still remember meeting for the first time – they played games on the empty boardwalk and ate slices of pizza the size of blue whales and sat in the sand on a turquoise sheet she’d brought from home – it was November – the end was only an imaginary game – health insurance – what will you do to make up your salary – I’ll find a way – she sits in the backyard watching the leaves shiver in a heatwave breeze dappled in sunlight and it doesn’t feel the way she thought it would – to be free but not – to have summer time – to have summer time but no sea – will she just have to wait for fall to feel the relief she’s still waiting for –

Until next week friends! May your week be filled with words and everything that gives you joy.

Part I: Lemurs, Contradictions, and Synesthesia

Hello all,

I know it’s been a while. I’ve been busy trying to figure out my anxiety, which I will be talking about in a later post. Know that things are going pretty well and, hopefully, getting consistently better.

Last year, I wrote a post about leaving my career in teaching, which, like anxiety, will be another topic I discuss in later posts. But the point of leaving teaching was to give myself more time to write.

I say all this to say that I am currently taking a writing course with Catapult (check them out!) and have been generating some writing that I wanted to share somewhere. So why not share it here!

For the next five weeks of courses, and beyond, I am going to use this space to share what I generate each week through writing courses and workshops. Feel free to use any prompts for your own writing. And, of course, please comment about your own writing journey. I would love to hear from you!

This week’s class prompt was: write a piece that includes an element of synesthesia, contradict yourself at least twice, and include a lemur.

This is what I wrote.

Portugal tastes like tomatoes. Like the feira where men turn roast chickens on a spit. Clouds of smoke pluming into the hot heat of August. Rancho spinning wildly from tinny speakers that call you home. Or is that Spain?

I can’t remember. But I can because the lemons and oranges that sag the tree limbs outside Sao Bento’s hidden church on the river where the town flooded is alive like a memory.

Or is that England?

A cool night in July after a couple of Magner’s at the pub. It’s only 8 PM but the world of Boringwood…was that the name…shut down. Off we go to the Howard Johnson. Or was it the Holiday Inn? Singing songs in a voice that doesn’t know sadness yet. Jumping on your best friend’s back shouting, “I’m a lemur” because you’re 25 and the world tastes like freedom. And this is only the beginning of a shooting star scented life.

Until next week, friends. I wish you many days of words that flow and minutes filled with whatever brings you joy.

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